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Life in the Mouse House: Memoir of a Disney Story Artist Paperback – March 3, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
Any firsthand memories of the medium’s Golden Age are to be highly cherished, and Brightman’s accounting (while neither as insightful as Shamus Culhane’s or acidic as Jack Kinney’s) is engaging enough that you’ll probably plow through this 100-pager in one evening. I grew a little annoyed with Brightman’s inflated self-importance, but that’s to be expected in a memoir (as if Carl Barks was as inept a storyteller as Brightman made him out to be). Brightman used pseudonyms for all of his coworkers and they are left intact as he wanted. They get in the way, but thankfully Ghez has included a key to who’s who.
Walt Disney was one of those mercurial personalities you couldn’t help observe sharply, and Brightman’s anecdotes ring true and his commentary is generally spot-on. The book has been oversold as “scathing,” as if it’s tantamount to the bile regularly exhibited in strikers’ interviews of the past or the psychopath Walt Peregoy’s taped talks of the present day. It’s revealing that despite receiving ostensibly brutal treatment, Brightman is able to write about Disney with fair admiration. The book abruptly ends when he leaves after Cinderella, with no mention of Walter Lantz (who easily valued Brightman considerably more than Disney did).
Yet another must-have for anyone interested in animation history.
Contrary to publicity, there is nothing searing or scathing about his memoir. Many of his recollections are consistent with those of other personnel whom worked at the studio. It was challenging at times but also rewarding. His description of Walt as a complex man is also consistent with others' memories.
One curiousity Im sure most people had was the fact that he never mentions any coworkers by name but rather some sort of cryptic pseudonym. It's sort of irritating, but Didier Ghez provides a key and if you're already familiar with what the Disney Studio was like at the time, the context gives the identity of the personnel away fairly easily.
Highlights include him describing (or possibly quoting from a transcript) a story meeting on the short Alpine Climbers. Practical jokes between him and Roy Williams (consistent with Jack Kinney's memoir). He gives another perspective on what brought on the strike. He didn't strike, but wasn't too sympathetic with Walt. He also describes his work relationship with Ted Sears and the other story personnel. His memoir ends with him leaving the studio.
Like most memoirs that have been published by former Disney artists this one is a very short read (exactly 100 pages). This is supplemented by an account of what Brightman did after he left Disney's in addition to a chart of all the films and shows he contributed to throughout his career.
Despite its short length, this makes a valuable account on the Disney studio during its golden age. Now I wonder how Michael Barrier's interview with Brightman compares with this account.
Always interesting to get another point-of-view of life at the Mouse House....